In my interactions with other Korean learners, I’ve frequently heard complaints that Chinese characters (which for the record do not appear often in written Korean) are hard. Using this as an excuse, many people avoid familiarizing themselves with these characters. In my opinion this is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a Korean learner, only surpassed by refusing to learn Hangeul – the Korean script.
Though phonetically distant from modern-day Chinese, Korean remains deeply rooted in Chinese vocabulary. An estimated 60-70% of Korean words are Hanja-words, meaning that they can be written with Chinese characters.
Since these words, however, are written in Korean script, you may wonder “why bother learning Chinese characters?” “I’m already struggling as it is.” You should totally learn at least a couple of hundred Chinese characters, because it will make your life so much easier in countless ways. Here are a few:
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